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Don Strong, Patrol Leader

93 pages
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Don Strong, Patrol Leader, by William HeyligerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Don Strong, Patrol LeaderAuthor: William HeyligerRelease Date: October 31, 2004 [EBook #13898]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DON STRONG, PATROL LEADER ***Produced by Audrey Longhurst, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading TeamDON STRONGPATROL LEADERBy WILLIAM HEYLIGERAuthor of "Don Strong of the Wolf Patrol"1918FOREWORDTempting boys to be what they should be—giving them in wholesome form what they want—that is the purpose andpower of Scouting. To help parents and leaders of youth secure books boys like best that are also best for boys, the BoyScouts of America organized EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY. The books included, formerly sold at prices ranging from $1.50to $2.00 but, by special arrangement with the several publishers interested, are now sold in the EVERY BOY'S LIBRARYEdition at $1.00 per volume.The books of EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY were selected by the Library Commission of the Boy Scouts of America,consisting of George F. Bowerman, Librarian, Public Library of the District of Columbia; Harrison W. Craver, Director,Engineering Societies Library, New York City; Claude G. Leland, ...
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Don Strong, Patrol Leader, by William Heyliger
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: Don Strong, Patrol Leader
Author: William Heyliger
Release Date: October 31, 2004 [EBook #13898]
Language: English
Produced by Audrey Longhurst, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
Author of "Don Strong of the Wolf Patrol"
Tempting boys to be what they should be—giving them in wholesome form what they want—that is the purpose and power of Scouting. To help parents and leaders of youth securebooks boys like bestthat are also best for boys, the Boy Scouts of America organized EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY. The books included, formerly sold at prices ranging from $1.50 to $2.00 but, by special arrangement with the several publishers interested, are now sold in the EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY Edition at $1.00 per volume.
The books of EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY were selected by the Library Commission of the Boy Scouts of America, consisting of George F. Bowerman, Librarian, Public Library of the District of Columbia; Harrison W. Craver, Director, Engineering Societies Library, New York City; Claude G. Leland, Superintendent, Bureau of Libraries, Board of Education, New York City; Edward F. Stevens, Librarian, Pratt Institute Free Library, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Franklin K, Mathiews, Chief Scout Librarian. Only such books were chosen by the Commission as proved to be, bya nation wide canvas, most in demand by the boys themselves. Their popularity is further attested by the fact that in the EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY Edition, more than a million and a quarter copies of these books have already been sold.
We know so well, are reminded so often of the worth of the good book and great, that too often we fail to observe or understand the influence for good of a boy's recreational reading. Such books may influence him for good or ill as profoundly as his play activities, of which they are a vital part. The needful thing is to find stories in which the heroes have the characteristics boys so much admire—unquenchable courage, immense resourcefulness, absolute fidelity, conspicuous greatness. We believe the books of EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY measurably well meet this challenge.
James E. West Chief Scout Executive.
A baseball rose gracefully in the air, carried on a way, and dropped. Three scouts back from a hike halted under the maple tree that bordered the village field, and unslung their haversacks.
"Gee!" cried Fred Ritter. "Did you see Ted Carter make that catch?"
"And did you see Tim Lally get that one?" demanded Wally Woods.
Andy Ford grinned. "Ted's the boy to keep them working. Chester will have a real town team this year."
"You bet." Ritter unscrewed the top of his canteen. "Anyway, Ted and Tim are about the whole team."
"Hold on there," Andy protested. "Where do you leave Don Strong?"
"It's Tim's catching that makes him a pitcher," Ritter answered seriously.
"Who says so?"
"Why, Tim says so."
"O—h!" Andy began to laugh. "And you swallowed that?"
"Sure," said Ritter. "A catcher ought to know just how good a pitcher he is. Tim says—"
But what Tim said was not told just then. A small, wiry boy steered his bicycle up on the sidewalk and pedaled toward the tree.
"Hey, fellows!" he shouted. "Did you hear the latest? Mr. Wall is going to give a cup to the best patrol and Phil Morris is moving to Chicago."
The three scouts surrounded the bicycle.
"Who told you about the cup?" Andy Ford demanded.
"Mr. Wall told me," Bobbie Brown answered. "It's a contest, with points for everything—attendance at meeting, neatness, obeying orders, all that. There's going to be a contest every month, and at the end of three months a big scout game for points. Isn't that swell?"
Three heads nodded. Ritter plucked at Bobbie's sleeve.
"How do you know Phil Morris is moving?"
"Mr. Wall told me that, too."
"Then the Wolf patrol elects a new leader," said Ritter. He glanced out toward where Tim Lally was catching.
Andy's eyes puckered, and a swift change came over Bobbie Brown's face.
The practice ended. Tim came across the grass with a big mitt under his arm. Ritter and Wally went forward to meet him.
"Tim won't get my vote," said Bobbie. "The patrol leader ought to be a fellow who's up in things, like Don, or Alex Davidson, or you—"
"Don and Alex have it all over me," said Andy.
They watched the field. Tim was walking now with Ritter and Wally. Bobbie reached a foot for the nearest pedal.
"Guess I'll ride along," he said. As he turned the corner he glanced back across his shoulder. Tim and Ritter and Wally were talking to Andy.
Bobbie rode faster. Presently he came in sight of a house with a white-washed fence in front and a sign rising above the lawn grass:
A boy who whistled as he worked was tacking wire to a door frame.
Bobbie opened the gate and pushed through with his bicycle. The whistling boy glanced up.
"Hello, Bobbie " .
"Hello, Don. Phil Morris is moving to Chicago."
"To Chi—" Don Strong paused with his tack hammer raised. "That means a new patrol leader, doesn't it?" The hammer fell and the work went on.
"Tim Lally wants it," said Bobbie.
A thoughtful expression came to Don's face. He went on tacking the wire until it was all tight and snug. Still thoughtful, he cut the molding and nailed it fast. From under one of the two wooden horses on which the door lay, he took a can of green paint.
"Tim wouldn't make a good patrol leader, would he, Don?"
"Easy, there," Don warned.
Bobbie flushed. "Well, he always wants to boss things and you know it."
Don said nothing.
"Doesn't he?" Bobbie insisted.
Don dodged the question and demanded that Bobbie show him how he was progressing with his semaphore. Bobbie retreated to the fence and sent the message that was given him.
"Was that right, Don?" he asked eagerly.
"Right," said Don. He was on the point of sending the boy off with another message when the gate clicked. Tim Lally advanced as though he had important business on his mind.
"Hello," said Tim, and rubbed his fingers across the door. "Gee! Why didn't you tell me the paint was wet? Give it a rub or two; that will fix it up again. Did you hear about Phil Morris?"
Don nodded.
"I guess I'll take a crack at being patrol leader," said Tim.
Bobbie looked up quickly. Don stood the door aside to dry, went down to his father's basement workshop and came up with another frame.
"I guess I'll take a crack at being patrol leader," Tim repeated. "I have two votes already, Ritter and Wally Woods. My own, of course, is three. All I need is another. Now, how about you fellows?"
"I'm going to vote for Alex Davidson," said Don.
Bobbie scarcely breathed. A spot of red flamed in each of Tim's cheeks.
"What's the matter with me?" he demanded. "Don't you think I'm good enough?" He swung around. "How about you, Bobbie?"
Bobbie swallowed hard. "Why, Tim, I—I—I—"
"Well, how about it?"
Bobbie looked appealingly at Don. Don laid down the tack hammer.
"Is that fair, Tim?" he asked quietly.
"Why isn't it?" Tim bristled.
And yet, after a moment, his eyes fell. He knew what Don meant. Bobbie was the "baby" of the troop, the smallest and the youngest scout. He walked out of the yard and slammed the gate defiantly.
"I'll get it without you," he called over the fence.
Don didn't do any more whistling that day. And after supper, as he heard the details of the contest for the Scoutmaster's Cup, the concerned look on his face deepened.
The patrol leader, he thought, should be a fellow who was heart and soul in scouting—a fellow who could encourage, and
urge, and lend a willing hand; not a fellow who wanted to drive and show authority. If Tim, with his temper and his eagerness to come to blows, should take command—Don shook his head. Why did Phil Morris have to move away?
All next morning he built bird-houses. He had developed quite a business with Audubon societies and it took a lot of work to keep up with his orders. After dinner he trudged off to the village field. Tim greeted him as though nothing had happened.
Don was delighted at this turn of affairs. When the work ended and he saw Tim following his steps he waited.
"You can vote for me now," Tim said confidently. "I saw Alex today. He won't have time to be patrol leader. He goes to work for the Union grocery store next Monday."
Don felt that everything had been turned upside down. So this was why the other boy had been so friendly! Of course, he could go home and let Tim think that the vote was his. But that would be cowardice. That would not be a scout's way of meeting the situation.
"I'm going to vote for somebody else," he said uneasily.
Tim's good humor vanished. "You are?"
Don nodded. "You're too hot-tempered," he said. "You always get things stewed up. You— "
"I don't see any wings on you or Alex," Tim cried wrathfully. "What kind of a game is this?"
Don said nothing. What was the use, he thought. He walked on; and after a moment Tim stood still and let him go his way.
Next morning a letter came from the Scout Scribe announcing the terms of the contest for the Scoutmaster's Cup. The competition would start at Friday night's meeting. For each scout present a patrol would be awarded a point, while for each scout absent it would lose a point. Another point would be lost for each scout who came to meeting with buttons off his uniform, or with scout pin missing, or with hair uncombed, or shoes muddy. Any patrol that did not live up to its orders from the Scoutmaster would be penalized from five to ten points. At the end of the first month there would be a contest in advanced first aid, and points would be awarded to the patrols that came in first and second.
Don read the letter twice and sat on one of the wooden horses and stared at the ground. His sister Barbara, anxious to show a berry cake, had to call to him three times before he heard her.
"What's the matter, Don?" she asked.
"Tim Lally wants to be patrol leader," he answered.
"Oh!" Barbara gave him a quick, understanding look.
Tim did not have a word to say to him that afternoon. Next day he worked steadily helping his father on a rush order and did not get to the field at all. When the work was done, he went upstairs and washed, dressed in his scout uniform and came down to the dining-room.
Barbara came in from the kitchen to set the table. "Hungry?" she asked. Then, after a moment: "Isn't Tim your catcher on the town team?"
Don nodded.
Barbara put her head close to his. "Scouting isn't all fun, is it?"
"It wouldn't be worth shucks if it was," Don said stoutly. And yet, as he walked toward troop headquarters after supper, his steps were slow.
The command "Attention," came from Mr. Wall's lips as he entered the meeting place. He hurriedly joined his patrol. The color guard and the troop bugler stepped to the front, and the brassy notes of "To the Colors" rose and fell. Standing stiffly at salute, the troop pledged allegiance to the flag, and repeated the scout oath. The bugler stepped back to the ranks.
Slowly Mr. Wall made his tour of inspection. When it was finished, the scouts waited breathlessly. For the first time Don noticed a small blackboard nailed against the wall:
Eagle Fox Wolf
"The Eagle patrol," Mr. Wall said, "has one scout absent and two scouts untidy—thirteen points."
The Scout Scribe wrote the points upon the board.
"The Fox patrol, all scouts present and two scouts-untidy—fourteen points. The Wolf patrol a perfect score—sixteen points."
Silence in the patrols.
"Break ranks," the Scoutmaster ordered.
Instantly there was a babel of excited talk. Scouts who had cost their patrols points through untidiness were upbraided by their comrades. Andy caught Don's arm.
"We're off in the lead " he chuckled. ,
"It's staying in the lead that counts," said Don.
The shrill of Mr. Wall's whistle brought the scouts to attention again.
"Tonight we take up the theory of building a bridge with staves and cords," the Scoutmaster said. "The Fox patrol was to have provided two logs."
The Fox patrol hustled outdoors and returned in a moment with their burden.
The scouts set to work to build a bridge from one log to the other. Mr. Wall walked about, watching but offering no advice. After an hour the bridge was completed.
"Scouts Lally and Davidson," said Mr. Wall, "see if it will hold you."
Tim and Alex stepped out on the structure. It held. A cheer started and died. For the bridge was sagging. Abruptly it gave.
"Ten minutes for examination to see where the fault lies." The Scoutmaster took out his watch. "Next meeting we'll try again."
Ten minutes later the lashings were untied, the staves were back in their wall racks, and the logs were outdoors. Each scout was sure he knew just what was wrong with that bridge and no two scouts agreed.
"Squat!" came the next order.
There was a rush for camp stools piled in a corner. Still grouped by patrols, the scouts faced Mr. Wall.
"The Wolf patrol," he said, "is to select a new leader. So long as Patrol Leader Morris will not serve under his successor, the Council of Patrol Leaders feels that he should not vote in this election. The Scout Scribe will distribute pencils and paper. Each member of the Wolf patrol will write the name of his candidate. When I call his name, he will deposit his ballot, folded, in my hat. The patrol leaders will count the ballots."
Don's throat was dry. When he received his paper and pencil his hand shook. He wrote "Andy Ford" quickly, and folded the paper. He caught a glimpse of Tim sending sharp glances from face to face.
"Assistant Patrol Leader Ford," Mr. Wall called.
Andy went up and dropped his ballot.
"Scout Lally."
Tim voted, came back to his stool and sat biting his lips.
Finally all the votes were in. The patrol leaders carried the hat aside, counted the votes, and came back to Mr. Wall.
"The result is—" The Scoutmaster paused. "Scout Lally, three votes; Scout Strong, three votes; Assistant Patrol Leader Ford, one vote. As no candidate has received a majority, another ballot is necessary."
Don wondered if he had heard the Scoutmaster correctly. Three votes for him? He saw Tim eye him with dark suspicion. Andy's voice sounded in his ear:
"Did you vote for me?"
He nodded.
"Well, cut it out. Next time vote for yourself " .
Don shook his head slowly. This thing of voting for himself did not appeal.
"If you vote for me," Andy said sharply, "this will be a tie until the cows come home. Don't be a chump. Tim is voting for
Still Don was undecided. Besides, he could not get over the wonder of finding himself with three votes.
"How about a man who runs for president of the United States?" Andy insisted. "Do you think he votes for his opponent?"
"We are ready to ballot again," said Mr. Wall.
"Wake up," said Andy.
Don did not know what to do. There was no use in voting for Andy. Alex would not take the place and Bobbie Brown was altogether too young a scout. What should he do?
"Assistant Patrol Leader Ford," called the Scoutmaster.
Don, in desperation, wrote his own name.
This time, when the patrol leaders brought Mr. Wall the result, they put the hat out of the way, and the troop knew that it would not be needed again.
"Scout Lally," Mr. Wall read, "three votes; Scout Strong, four votes, Scout Strong is elected patrol leader of the Wolves."
Five minutes later the meeting was over. Don had been formally saluted by the Foxes and the Bears, and a patrol leader's stripes had been pinned, temporarily, to his sleeve. Flushed and excited, and still amazed at the turn fortune had taken, he faced about to where his own patrol was gathered. All at once the flush died out of his cheeks.
"When I asked Bobbie for his vote," said Tim, "it wasn't fair. But you could ask the fellows, couldn't you?"
"I didn't ask anybody," said Don.
Tim laughed. "When do you think I was born—yesterday? How did you get the votes if you didn't ask for them? We'll see about this."
He walked out of headquarters. Ritter and Wally Woods whispered together, looked at Don, and seemed unable to make up their minds. Finally they edged their way toward the door.
There was work for Don to do—checking up what property the Wolf patrol owned and signing that he received it in good condition. But all joy was gone from the honor that had come to him. The Wolves were divided among themselves! What chance would they have for the Scoutmaster's Cup?